A week ago, I got an automated email from Blogger.com advising that their bots had detected that my blog was spam and a human being would review and unlock my blog within one working day. Four days later, I got another automated email advising that my blog had been unlocked. It wasn't true and blogger has declined to answer my emails, so here I am.
The purpose of this blog is to document my reactions to what I read and other stuff I'm thinking about. I might put accounts of my adventures here, or I might put them elsewhere. I intend to upload my previous blog entires, stale though they may be, over the next few days, along with more current stuff. As I am currently relying on a bodgy dial up connection and will be travelling of the next few weeks, posts could become sporadic, but I'll do my best to keep it current and hope that things will settle down in October.
Meanwhile, here is my reaction to a NY Times editorial from 29 July:
Today’s Times had a doozy of an editorial. Anybody would be forgiven for needing reminding that the mainstream media pride themselves on their fairness and balance.
Published: July 29, 2006
There is a difference between justified and smart.
Now I’m no expert on the laws of war, but my understanding is that the UN Charter provides for:
the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. (Article 51)
Now I am still awaiting conclusive evidence that Hizb’allah took those two Israeli soldiers prisoner on the Israeli side of the border. If they did, then presumably that would constitute ‘an armed attack’ in the terms of the Charter. If not, then Israeli has no claim that its response was legitimate.
On the contrary,
But even if it was legitimate to respond, the legitimacy would certainly be constrained to the ‘Hexbollah targets’ the Times speaks of. Of course in reality,
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this paragraph is that the Times is expressing concern about what will do Israel good or harm. They don’t bother offering their sage advice to Hizb’allah, or to
A better answer to the Hezbollah problem would be an immediate cease-fire, paving the way for an international force to patrol
It is of course Hizb’allah that is the problem. There is no question of
An international force, the Times opines, should patrol
The Turkish paper Milliyet was purported to have claimed this morning that a large number of British troops were massing in
On this occasion, unlike the previous one, where a Ghanaian UNIFIL soldier was murdered in his home with the rest of his family, at least Mr Annan grew sufficient spine to object, and even accuse Israeli of targeting the installation deliberately. It does him no credit, however, to have accepted
For more than two weeks, Mr. Bush has been playing for time, declining to join calls for an immediate cease-fire so that
Did I miss something? I thought the point of an immediate ceasefire was to minimize harm to the Lebanese civilian population, who are bearing the brunt of
The lasting solution, if any, would come about through diplomacy exercised in the calm of the ceasefire. But of course a lasting solution to anything in the Middle East is hardly likely to eventuate as long as
‘There’s no peace without justice’, the saying goes. And it’s not just because oppressed people will never give up fighting until they get justice. It’s also because peace without justice isn’t really peace, unless it’s the peace of the grave.
I will reserve my thoughts on what justice would entail in this context for another post.
The glaring flaw in the administration’s logic is that there is no way that even weeks of Israeli airstrikes can eliminate more than a fraction of the 12,000 rockets Hezbollah is believed to have in Lebanon. And more weeks of television screens filled with Lebanese casualties, refugees and destruction would be a propaganda bonanza for the Hezbollahs and the Hamases, and a mounting political problem for the Arab world’s most moderate and pro-Western governments. Whatever a major Israeli ground offensive might achieve in military terms would have far too steep a political and diplomatic cost.
It goes without saying that whenever people suffer and the tv cameras capture it, ‘the Hezbollahs’, whoever they are – presumably anybody ‘we’ don’t like, at the moment, enjoy the good press it gives them. It’s irrelevant to the Times that the people are suffering. What’s important is the cost to the perpetrator. It’s quite possible, however, that ‘the Hezbollahs’, like normal people, actually care more about the real effects than on the media coverage.
It’s worth mentioning that it matters a great deal what it is that goes without saying. For example, if I were to say something like, ‘Fred’s phone works, but mine is stuffed’, it would be because I feel I can safely assume that you know what it is of mine that is stuffed. It’s ‘old information’ that you already know from earlier in the sentence.
But sometimes the old information has a source outside the sentence altogether. ‘Common sense’ and other widespread assumptions can insinuate themselves into a discourse unnoticed. Manipulating the addressee’s view of a situation through what is left unsaid is actually one of the most subtle and insidious forms of propaganda.
What is needed, as almost everyone now agrees, is a strong international force, including well-armed units from NATO countries, to move into southern
All of a sudden the Times is concerned about the sovereignty of the Lebanese government, which doesn’t seem to have been a significant issue during the 18 years of direct Israeli military occupation. Obviously, the primary function of the well armed force is to disarm Hizb’allah and to prevent ‘further attacks against
Yesterday, there were some encouraging signs of movement in this direction, with Mr. Bush sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice back to the
As soon as Monday! Only three weeks into the bombing! Just imagine the UN Security Council sitting on its hands for three weeks following, say, a Syrian attack on
The pressure for bringing in an international force should now be coming from American diplomacy, not Israeli airstrikes. If
And those are the things that count. Two paragraphs back, the Times shed crocodile tears for the suffering of Lebanese civilians. But now their true colours shine through. Lebanese security, much less Palestinian security or Iraqi or Iranian security, is not even on the agenda. Anyway, what’s another couple of days of bombing and shelling and missile strikes against ‘Hezbollah targets’ that just happen to be Red Cross vehicles, UN peacekeepers, and civilians fleeing under instruction from the invaders.
Pro western Arab governments look like needing all the help they can get. The people they are busy oppressing under US tutelage may have finally had enough. Boy would I like to see the Saudi monarchy and their ilk get their just deserts!